Indonesia election: Ruling coalition led by PDI-P on track to win most seats in Parliament

Indonesia's president Joko Widodo speaking to the press after voting at a polling station in Gambir, Jakarta on April 17, 2019. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

BANDUNG, WEST JAVA - Indonesia's ruling coalition, which backs President Joko Widodo, is on course to win the most seats in Parliament in the legislative race, based on quick counts on Wednesday (April 17).

The country's biggest party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) took the lead in parliamentary elections, which were held simultaneously with the presidential polls for the first time in the world's third-largest democracy.

The PDI-P was one of the 16 parties in the legislative election, competing for 575 seats in the House of Representatives or Parliament.

PDI-P has grabbed 20.87 per cent of the votes, according to the quick counts by the research arm of Kompas newspaper based on 60.65 per cent of these results.

The party's internal survey found between 23 and 25 per cent of the support for the party, PDI-P secretary general Hasto Kristiyanto told reporters in a Kompas TV live broadcast.

In the 2014 legislative polls, the PDI-P won 18.95 per cent of the votes.

Political observers attributed the party's improved performance to the coat-tail effect of Mr Joko's candidacy in the presidential race.

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The result, if confirmed later, will allow the party to secure more seats than 109 out of 560 seats, or 20 per cent of the House, it has at present.

The PDI-P is led by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesia's founding president Sukarno.

The PDI-P's coalition parties, such as Golkar and the National Awakening Party (PKB), secured 11.94 per cent and 9.62 per cent, respectively, according to Kompas.

Golkar, the country's second-largest party, now controls 16 per cent of the seats in the Parliament.

In the opposition camp, Gerindra, which is led by Mr Joko's rival Prabowo Subianto and currently has 13 per cent of the parliamentary seats, has garnered 12.78 per cent, with 60.65 per cent of the quick count results in.

The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and National Mandate Party (PAN), allies of Gerindra, have secured 8.5 per cent and 6.45 per cent respectively.

Mr Noory Okthariza, a political expert at the Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said the configuration of the Parliament may remain similar to the current state if the quick count results are confirmed by the final results.

"As the ruling coalition is the majority in the Parliament, there should be no significant hurdles for the government to implement programmes and policies."

He added that in the second term, Mr Joko, with a stronger mandate from the people and major backup in Parliament, will be more confident in running the government.

"As he is in his final term, he will also have nothing to lose," Mr Noory said. "We hope he will be more brave and decisive in his leadership."

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